The first ever in-person Armchair Adventure Festival!
Written by Victoria Levitt
Well, we did it!
After months of preparation, and against all COVID-related odds, the first ever in-person Armchair Adventure Festival took place! The weather was (generally) kind, the speakers were even more inspiring than anticipated, and the people who came were wonderful. We’re still buzzing!
The festival gates swung open on the Thursday and we were thrilled to see the first of our 500 campers roll up with beaming smiles on their faces, a theme that continued throughout the weekend. The “Adventure Open Mic Night” was a massive hit that really got our adventure juices flowing - everyone loved hearing the bizarre, hilarious and often downright weird stories that some of the audience had to share. The storyteller that received the loudest cheer won two tickets aboard the beautiful Bounty, Conrad Humphrey’s famous wooden sailing ship. The incredible Cabarats’ ska/folk/punk fusion set kept us bouncing until the wee hours, and the brilliant Three Wheels Bar managed to keep up!
Friday kicked off with a self-defence workshop led by Tiffany Coates on the Main Stage, in stark contrast to the yoga session taking place in the nearby Wellness Zone. There was plenty of action to choose from throughout the day… armchair adventurers flocked to the Main Stage to hear intrepid adventurers telling tales of their epic trips, whilst hands-on experiences were the order of the day at the Survival Zone, where people honed their survival and outdoor skills. The Sit Back and Adventure Stage saw Craig Carey-Clinch and Max Jowett share some of their most valuable tips and tricks about motorcycle maintenance, and those chilling at the Fire Pit got to see Jay Worthy in full podcast-mode.
But wait, there was more!
No self-respecting adventure festival would be complete without some actual adventures. The jaw-dropping setting of Mount Edgcumbe has so much to offer and we did all we could to take advantage of this throughout the weekend. The more hardcore amongst us were wild swimming at the crack of dawn each morning – what a way to wake up! Families, friends, couples and solo adventurers jumped in kayaks, on sup boards, or aboard beautiful sailing ships and hit the waves, and the lucky ones amongst them marvelled at pods of dolphins enjoying the last of the summer in Plymouth Sound (you have no idea how complicated that was to organise!). Those chilling on Barn Pool Beach may have got a glimpse of the mountain bikers who’d hired our free bikes and were exploring the beautiful coastline on which the Festival was perched, or they may have heard the Ural, the Ducatis or Nathan Millward’s famous postie bikes ripping through the glorious roads on the sold-out test rides.
As the sun set, the lights went up on the Main Stage and it was time for another night of excellent music, this time from Bailey Tomkinson and Malavita!, whose energy was contagious and had everyone shouting for more.
Saturday welcomed another jam-packed, adventure-filled day: talks on everything from cycling pandemic Britain to running across the Americas, plus the inspiringly, impossibly enthusiastic Ben King who needed a festival of his own to share all of the stories he gathered during his round the world trip! Elsewhere, scouts shared their bushcraft skills with us, Simon and Lisa Thomas hosted a photography workshop as well as a “cooking on the road” demo, and the ride-outs, water-based adventures and yoga entertained and inspired for another day. Stall holders selling everything from wild boar jerky to waterproof bags provided some retail therapy, and you could even buy a branded Armchair Adventure Festival souvenir from our shop. Hot, fresh, healthy and tasty food was available throughout the weekend, which took the pressure off camping stoves and provided some beautiful aromas to the sea air!
As night fell, Rodney Branigan wowed us with his guitar skills, and later, the hugely popular Land of the Giants took to the stage and squeezed out every last drop of energy from the crowd – our ears are still ringing! What a performance!
Sunday morning was a little more chilled, but still saw plenty of water-based activities at the beach. There was a final flurry of adventurous talks and workshops before tents were rolled up, bikes, cars and campervans were packed and people set off home, inspired and exhausted!
We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone that came, in whatever capacity! You made the festival a great success, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Will you be joining us in 2022? Tickets go on sale on Friday 29th October!
Here’s what some had to say about the first ever in-person Armchair Adventure Festival:
“Get yourself there, it's amazing. Great presentations, lots of add-on activities, tasty food, great music and the most beautiful setting!”
“It was fantastic to experience a lovely healthy festival where you leave inspired rather than hungover.”
“We loved the small, friendly size and atmosphere around the bar during the evening - everyone was so laid back and friendly.”
Thank you again, and see you in 2022! Maybe you’ll be on the stage next year, telling tales of your adventures…?